Cookies · Recipe · Tutorial

Magnificent Macarons!!

You get today’s post a day early because I’m so excited, y’all!! I did it! And on my first try, too. They aren’t perfect (a little lumpy and bumpy) but they are kinda pretty and oh, so tasty! I mean, just look at this nonsense:

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Because I wanted to use up the yolks at the same time, they’re filled with a lemon-ginger curd that I could probably just eat by the spoonful, honestly. Absolutely delectable! It’s tart and smooth and the perfect counterpart to the sweetness of the cookies.

Are you enticed?

Are you ready to give it a try?

Great! Let’s go!

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First up, we’ll go step-by-step with photos. If you’re confident with basic instructions, skip to the bottom of the page for the basic recipe. Otherwise, follow along and I’ll give you all the tips I learned along the way.

Step one is simple: separate two eggs. Put the whites in a covered container on the counter to come to room temperature. You can fill your cookies with almost anything (jam, frosting, ganache, etc.), but doing it this way means no egg yolks waiting to be used, and it gives you something to do while waiting for the whites to come to temp. So, if you want to fill them with my lemon-ginger curd, put the yolks in a small saucepan with 1/4 C Granulated Sugar and whisk smooth.

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Put your saucepan on the stove over low heat. Whisk in 1/3 C Lemon Juice, 1/4-1/2 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger (or Lemon Zest for classic lemon curd), and 2.5 TBSP Butter (cubed; I used unsalted, but salted might kick it up a notch).

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Continue stirring until the butter is melted and ingredients are smoothly incorporated. I like my flat whisk for this so it reaches the corners of the saucepan better. Whisk regularly over low heat until thickened (170*F is ideal). Strain it through a fine sieve to remove the ginger (or zest). You should have a little over 1/2 C of curd. Cover it and chill. Then use a spoon to get the ginger bits out of the sieve and eat that zippy goop up! If you’re feeling extra nice and generous, you can use a spatula to get the last bit of curd out of the saucepan and share it with your kids. Maybe.

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Cover and chill the curd.

Prepare a template for piping your cookies. You can buy special silicon baking sheets with markings on them, but I’ve seen several bakers recommend using parchment paper instead for a better bake with lower risk of the cookie sticking and getting broken at the end. On parchment paper, use a round cookie cutter and a pencil to mark off 1.5″ circles about 1/2″-3/4″ apart (I eyeballed the separation and it was fine). You can either use this by turning it over (to keep the graphite off your cookies) and piping directly on it, or as a master template. As a master, you can just slip it under another piece of parchment paper during piping, then slip it out from underneath and keep it for later use.

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When the egg whites have come to room temperature, begin the macaron cookies!

First you make a French meringue base: start by putting your egg whites into a stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. Whisk the whites on medium speed until frothy. Reduce to low and slowly add 1/4 C Granulated Sugar (by the tablespoon) until well incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to High, until very stiff peaks form (about five minutes).

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In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 C Powdered Sugar and 3/4 C Almond Flour until thoroughly combined. I used Bob’s Red Mill “Super Fine Almond Flour”, found in the “health foods” section of my area Kroger, among the other flour replacers/substitutes. Many recipes I encountered used Almond Meal and ground it in a food processor with the powdered sugar till fine. Until I found the Super Fine Almond Flour by the bag, that was what was primarily holding me back from trying Macarons; I don’t have a food processor, and I’m a little lazy about using my blender as such because of having to clean all the parts.  At any rate, begin sifting this mixture by the quarter-cup into the meringue base, and gently fold it in with a spatula between siftings. (UPDATE: See this post for how to get the batter to the right texture.)

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At this point you can go directly to piping for an off-white cookie, or you can have a little fun with it. I divided mine into three bowls and colored each bowl separately. I recommend using a gel or paste food color, as adding more liquid now may have an adverse affect on the cookies. I used Hobby Lobby/Sunny Side Up Bakery’s Turquoise and Soft Pink, and Americolor’s Electric Green. It only took a drop of each to get those rich, beautiful colors, so go easy if you want a soft or pastel color. Gently stir in the color, then put each batch of batter into a separate piping bag (or alternate them in one bag for a marbled effect, you rebel!). I then put the round piping tip in a separate bag, which allowed me to drop the colors in one after the other without having to mess with couplers or having enough tips for each bag. Just snip the filled bag open, drop it in, and proceed to piping!

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In that last frame you can see how the master template works under the baking parchment.

If desired, clear out the tip between colors for fully separate colors, or leave the remaining bit of batter in the tip for a little swirl between colors. Guess which I did?

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Slip the master template (if you’re using one) out from under the baking parchment paper. Tap the baking sheet to remove any large bubbles. You can use a lightly wet finger to smooth the tops a little and lay flat any points that may have occurred during piping. Be careful that you don’t have too much water on your finger, as spots of batter with a drop of water on them will take longer to dry, see next step:

Then, let the sheet stand for 30 minutes or more (I went and took a leisurely shower– kids’ naptime for the win!!). This step ensures that your macarons will look like macarons; they’ll keep a smooth top and develop feet– that distinctive little ruffled bottom. During drying, they may develop a slightly more matte finish and lose their wet shine; once you can easily give a gentle swipe of a finger across the tops without picking up batter, you can bake! Preheat the oven to 325*F, then bake for 10-12 minutes (until set, but not browned).

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Then, be patient and don’t open your oven until that timer goes off. It’s so hard to wait, but I think I heard an angel chorus when I finally opened up that oven, y’all!! Look at those perfect feet!

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Sure, the tops aren’t that perfectly smooth finish you see on Pinterest, but I’m pretty sure I already know what I did wrong (I piped in a swirl instead of holding the tip low over the paper and pressing it out), but what an awesome first try!! 😀

After pulling them from the oven, put the sheet on a cooling rack and let the cookies cool completely on the pan without moving them. Once completely cooled, you can flip half of them over, spoon or pipe in about a teaspoon the curd (or other filling as desired) (you’ll have some curd left over) (…you’ll probably just want to eat that with a spoon!)…

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Sandwich the other half on top, and BOOM:

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MACARONS! Beautiful, delicious, only-slightly-goopy-maybe-I-should-have-refrigerated-these-for-photos-or-filled-them-a-little-less-generously Macarons!

So, there’s the step-by-step! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have as I am able. Finally, here’s a more compact option you can copy and print:

Lemon-Ginger Curd Macarons

Ingredients, Curd:

  • 2 Lg. Eggs Yolks
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 C. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Ginger
  • 2.5 TBSP. Butter, Cubed

Ingredients, Macaron Cookie:

  • 2 Lg. Egg Whites
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 C. Fine Almond Flour
  • Gel or Paste Food Coloring, as desired

Process:

  1. Separate eggs. Set aside whites to come to room temp.
  2. For curd, combine yolks and sugar well in a small saucepan. Put over low heat and whisk in lemon juice, ginger, and butter. Stir regularly until butter is melted, mixture has thickened, and reached 170*F. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, cover and chill. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container up to two weeks.
  3. For cookies, begin with egg whites in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment for meringue. Whisk on med. until  frothy. Reduce to low, and add granulated sugar by the TBSP until well incorporated. Increase to high until very stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and almond flour till well combined. Sift by the quarter-cup into the meringue, folding gently to combine after each sifting. Once combined, add color as desired and spoon into piping bag. Pipe batter into 1.5″ discs about 1/2″-3/4″ apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Allow to rest 30+ minutes.
  5. Once tops have dried out a bit, preheat oven to 325*F. Bake 10-12 minutes, until set but not brown.
  6. Transfer baking sheet to a cooling rack, allowing cookies to cool on the pan.
  7. Once cool, flip half of the cookies over and fill with curd via spoon or piping bag. Flip remaining cookies and sandwich carefully onto the filling.
  8. Om nom nom nom…

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Thanks for reading! Let me know if you try the recipe and tell me what you think! 🙂

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